Monthly Archives: May 2010

Sunday Parkways

Three summers ago, the City of Portland’s bureau of transportation went out on a limb and decided to throw a big party in the streets, but they didn’t invite any cars! Sunday Parkways are modeled from events in Columbia and Europe, where they close down the streets to bicyclists, jogging, skaters…just no cars allowed. The first year the route went right past our house, and we threw a barbeque for friends and co-workers to stop by en route. Plus, I volunteered and played in the park with our Big Guy. This is the definition of frugal family fun.


The idea has taken root, and this year there will be five Sunday Parkway events, and our family is planning to go to them all. It’s become a total community event, and I only wish we still lived on a route. Here’s a little video to hear the whole story and get a glimpse of the party: 





In case you’re feeling a little left out if you’re not from Portland, plant the seed in your community and soon you may be celebrating in the streets too!


Have you been to a Sunday Parkway?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Piles up quick

After two weekends away from the house, my focus this week is on simply refocusing. I don’t know about your house, but even though we are constantly tidying up, the piles still mound. 


I have to take some of the blame, because I’m a natural “piler,” while Hubby wants to have a clear deck. It’s part of our chaordic harmony. Just because I’ve come to terms with my stacking ways, doesn’t mean that I let them run my life.


So I’ve taken a little time each evening to work on updating my new family budget, which has already helped to reduce the piles…I still haven’t gotten away from those darn receipts yet! I do have to say that even as a self-proclaimed stacker, there is still a certain satisfaction in recycling an overdue stack.  


But I decided that I needed a bit some fresh ideas. Here is the best articles I found from the Creative Mama about creating small clip boards to stay organized. I’m going to give it a try, because even though I’ve used folders for years they can feel too out of site.



How do you maintain your piles?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Living in Bliss

I bought the The Geography of Bliss at Powell’s for my nomadic Twin Sis, conveniently for our birthday. She was kind enough to pass it along to me, and I finally finished reading it this past weekend.


The author, NPR correspondent Eric Weiner, has a humorous writing style even though it’s research-based non-fiction. Plus, happiness research isn’t exactly the toughest subject to delve into.


Without going into a full review, I would highly recommend the book. He writes about the American trend away from happiness, despite our amassed wealth and stuff. While money is important to have a decent standard of living, research shows that money itself does not make a country or oneself happy. 


Without giving away the punchline, it’s no surprise that trust, gratitude and social connections are the genuine bliss breeders. Here’s a brief video where Weiner describes landing in Iceland in the middle January. I reminds me of my Twin Sis’ high school exchange to Finland where she saw the sun once during the entire month of December!





Where is your happiest place?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Blessings Count

At the end of a long work day, it’s far too easy to fret about something that’s really inconsequential. So, I try my best each day to count our blessings: small and large, practical and silly, past and present.


I appreciate that we can afford our mortgage, even if our house certainly lost value when the real estate bubble burst. A 60 minutes interview discussed the unprecedented trend of Americans walking away from mortgages.


I am thankful still being a dual income family in a time when I personally know people who are being laid off.


I am grateful for our family’s health, and the fact that potential lactose intolerance is our biggest health challenge to date.


One significant blessing is that my family can experience magnificent forests and recognize the simple beauty of diverse ferns.


I’m eternally grateful for the curiosity and imagination of our children, even when it waylays my efforts to get them bathed and tucked into bed.   


What blessings do you count?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Budget Template!!

Our budget template has been several months in the works now, what with my Twin Sis traveling all over Africa and me just trying to managing a family and a new blog venture. You likely aren’t quite as excited as us, but I know that a few of you have been eagerly awaiting our new budget template.(hosted by Media Fire)


First, I must give the bulk of the kudos to my better half, since she’s the Excel genius who really crafted the template’s stellar formatting. I’ll only give myself credit for tailoring it to meet family budget needs.


I’ve used various budget templates over the years, originally simple self-made ones and then a few found online. Yet, none of them quite did the trick for me, and one of my biggest frustrations was not being able to see each month at a time and how the months blur together visually. This budget template helps draw your attention to important things, like when you are over-budget the font turns to red. The final page also shows you your averages, which is really key to understanding and changing your financial priorities.




Despite the bell and whistles, the template has been created with you our user in mind. You really don’t need to know Excel to be able to plug in your family budget info and watch it do the tallying for you!


Please post comment if you download, we’d love to know that our time and effort is helping you meet your family finance needs! We’d also like to continue to improve the template, so your feedback is important to us!


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.